Royal visit for real tennis challenge

HIS Royal Highness (HRH) Prince Edward Earl of Wessex took to Hobart’s courts last month to challenge junior players to a game of real tennis.

The prince visited the Hobart Real Tennis Club as part of a world tour to raise awareness of the sport, as well as funds for the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award.

The Award is a youth development program for young people aged between 14 and 24 years who come from a disadvantaged background.

Hobart Real Tennis Club president Christine Stirling said the club was “thrilled” to host HRH.

“It was a privilege that he came to this side of the world to visit us,” she said.

“The history of the club is very much around royalty, as real tennis was called the sport of kings hundreds of years ago.

“The prince played some of the youngest members and some of the oldest, so it was a really good chance to show the history and the future of the game.”

HRH took up the racquet against Oliver Pridmore, Nick Stenning and Ronan Pritchard, who earned their place on court against the Queen’s youngest son following a series of play off matches.

The Hobart Real Tennis Club was founded in 1875 and is one of the oldest sporting clubs in the southern hemisphere.

Real tennis is the original racquet game from which the lawn version was derived, with origins dating back as far as the 12th century.

The Hobart Real Tennis Club is one of three active real tennis clubs in Australia and one of just 43 in the world.

HRH’s visit coincided with the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast, which he attended as vice patron of the Commonwealth Games Federation.

Caption: Members of the Hobart Real Tennis Club were excited to have the chance to play against royalty.

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